Category Archives: Business

News Roundup – Ebay, VA and Rory

So, can someone explain to me how we have another security breach at a major company? EBay what’s up? I don’t understand.

I’m not sure that we are looking at the right things at the VA. I don’t think that Eric K. Shinseki is the problem. The VA has been a slow and plodding organization for more than 30 years. When we started the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, the Bush administration didn’t want to hear about  the large numbers of injured that could potentially be coming back. We didn’t increase the number of doctors, nurses, physical therapists and the like until the Walter Reed scandal. Although Obama has proposed increasing the budget of the VA republicans have not found it in their hearts to go along with these plans.

firing squad

Firing squads? Really? That’s what we need in the US. Firing squads. The US shouldn’t be in the habit of killing its own citizens. The death penalty is simply wrong. Think about it. What is its purpose. The death penalty is designed to exact revenge. Someone has done something so wrong that we, as a society, need to get even. We need to kill that person. I’m not down with that. I won’t get into the recent problems with lethal injection. Let me just say that we want a certain type of death when we use lethal injection. We want one of those soap opera deaths in which the victim simply closes his (her) eyes and dies. We don’t want to see coughing and gagging. That’s ugly. A firing squad? That is beyond ugly. I’m not sure if this idea is just stupid or just sad. Continue reading

News Roundup – Jill Abramson, 2nd American Revolution, AT&T

Josh Marshall over at Talking Points Memo has been following the ins and outs of the firing of Jill Abramson. I’m sorry, I’m trying to whip up some enthusiasm to follow the story but I can’t. If there’s anybody who should be able to defend herself it should be a well-educated writer for the New York Times. Until she steps up and says that she was discriminated against or something, I just can’t become very enthusiastic.

I try not to gloat or rub it in, but when the conservatives want to do something as foolish as kick out Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, one would figure that they would have an outstanding turnout. The 2nd American Revolution did not exactly reach their goal of 10 million conservatives. As a matter fact, I’m not sure they reach the goal of several thousand.

AT&T is going to buy DirecTV for a reportedly huge sum of money – $49 billion. I’ve been a DirecTV customer for nearly 20 years. This is one of the few major corporations that actually delivers service. AT&T, on the other hand, does not deliver service. Customer service is a dying art. By the way, the consolidation that we’re seeing in the telecommunications industry is somewhat alarming.

From EPI:

A key point in Thomas Piketty’s new book Capital in the Twenty-First Century is that strong forces in the economy could, if unchecked, lead to an ever greater concentration of wealth and the incomes that flow from wealth. The fact that income from wealth (capital gains, interest, dividends and so on) goes disproportionately to those with the highest incomes means that rising income from wealth leads to greater income inequality. One reflection of this process in the United States is that the share of income from wealth going to the top 1 percent has greatly increased in the last few decades, rising from 33.5 percent of all income from wealth in 1979 to 54 percent in 2010.

The figure below shows the share of income derived from owning wealth in the U.S. economy between 1979 and 2010, using data from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). It adds up rents, dividends, interest payments, capital gains, and business income and calculates what share of this income derived from owning wealth—often short-handed as “capital income”—is claimed by the top 1 percent of households, the bottom 90 percent of households, and the 9 percent of households in between these groups (households between the 91st and 99th percentiles).

News Roundup: Jobs Numbers, CVS, Google

The new job numbers are out. The economy gained 113,000 jobs last month.

From CBPP:

  • Private and government payrolls combined rose by just 113,000 jobs in January and the Bureau of Labor Statistics revised job growth in November and December upward by a total of 34,000 jobs.  Private employers added 142,000 jobs in January, while government employment fell by 29,000.  Federal government employment fell by 12,000, state government by 6,000, and local government by 11,000.
  • This is the 47th straight month of private-sector job creation, with payrolls growing by 8.5 million jobs (a pace of 181,000 jobs a month) since February 2010; total nonfarm employment (private plus government jobs) has grown by 7.8 million jobs over the same period, or 167,000 a month.  Total government jobs fell by 655,000 over this period, dominated by a loss of 414,000 local government jobs.
  • Despite 47 months of private-sector job growth, there were still 851,000 fewer jobs on nonfarm payrolls and 288,000 fewer jobs on private payrolls in January than when the recession began in December 2007.  January’s job growth (even with the revisions to earlier months) was well below the sustained job growth of 200,000 to 300,000 a month that would mark a robust jobs recovery.  Job growth averaged 194,000 a month last year, but only 94,000 in the December and January of this year.
  • The unemployment rate was 6.6 percent in January, and 10.2 million people were unemployed.  The unemployment rate was 5.7 percent for whites (1.3 percentage points higher than at the start of the recession), 12.1 percent for African Americans (3.1 percentage points higher than at the start of the recession), and 8.4 percent for Hispanics or Latinos (2.1 percentage points higher than at the start of the recession).

I thought that this graph from calculated risk blog was very interesting. It compares job creation with the last several presidents. President Obama is doing pretty well for himself.

Huge graphic asks why we aren’t investing more in our kids. Continue reading